In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails and National Wild & Scenic Rivers systems in 2018, the National Park Foundation today announced 20 grants that will enhance the country’s national trails and wild and scenic rivers and provide increased public access.
“Trails and rivers bring people together for shared experiences that last a lifetime,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation’s grants help maintain these treasured resources and enable more people to connect with them and each other.”
These grants demonstrate the impact of the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. To date, this comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of America’s treasured national parks has raised more than $500 million in private donations from individuals, foundations, and companies.
“With the National Park Foundation’s support for these projects, the 50th anniversary will have a lasting impact for our nation’s wild and scenic rivers and national trails,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “This is a wonderful legacy that will last well beyond this celebratory year, ensuring that more Americans can enjoy these exceptional places for years to come.”
The projects align with and advance the Department of the Interior priorities related to creating a conservation and stewardship legacy, modernizing infrastructure, increasing access to recreational opportunities, and working with local communities. Examples include:
Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Watershed (Connecticut)
Create an interactive, user-friendly map that identifies river access and other recreation access for fishing, wading, kayaking, and scenic overlooks. The map will also include numerous local preserves and scenic roads for other outdoor activities including hiking, birdwatching, overnight camping, cross-country skiing, and biking.
Musconetcong Wild and Scenic River (New Jersey)
Enable safe and permanent public access to an island for recreational purposes such as fishing, boating, and swimming. In addition, it will provide funding for the interpretation of cultural and historic resources of the Asbury Historic District.
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (Mississippi)
Replace two 30-foot-long bridges to equestrian standards along the Yockanookany section of the trail. Volunteers and youth crews will help with this project.
New River Gorge National River (West Virginia)
Connect local communities to recreational opportunities along trails and waterways through Get Active in the Park, a partnership between local nonprofit Active Southern West Virginia and the National Parks of Southern West Virginia including New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area. All programs are free of charge, beginner-level, and designed to show people how capable they really are of being active outdoors.
North Country National Scenic Trail (Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin)
Develop, improve, and implement training materials and programs for volunteer leaders and partners, in partnership with the North Country Trail Association. The focus will be on three primary areas: implement training sessions for the North Country trail crew leader program; establish a more comprehensive chainsaw training program for North Country Trail volunteers and partner groups; and revise the National Park Service handbook for trail design, construction and maintenance, including updated information on accessibility.
Redwood National and State Parks (California)
Improve public access, enhance recreation opportunities, and raise awareness about water safety at the Wild & Scenic Smith River. Purchase necessary equipment to continue the free Smith River Kayak Tours program and provide free access to personal floatation devices at the Jedediah Smith day use area.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail (Kansas)
Enable public access to a historic site at the Della Orton trailhead at Rock Creek Crossing. This access will promote recreation, education, and conservation of a section of tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Collaborations with local philanthropic organizations and trail, river, and park partners make each grantee’s project possible. All project descriptions can be viewed on the Rivers and Trails 50th Anniversary Grants Map.
National Park Foundation Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque partners The Coca-Cola Company and Nature Valley are proud to support this effort. Additional support comes from partners Niantic and Bandit Wines.
Beyond funding much-needed site-specific projects, the National Park Foundation is also inspiring more people to #FindYourWay along trails and rivers across the country.
#FindYourWay aligns with the #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque movement and invites the public to discover their own personal connections to thousands of trails across the National Trails System and more than 12,000 miles of rivers protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers System.